The tax system is based on property values and begins with an
assessment. Farmland values change every year in accordance with
land use, therefore an assessment on farm acreage is processed every
All other properties are assessed every four years, known as a
quadrennial year, unless there are changes that would affect the
assessed value. The last quadrennial was just last year, in 2008.
After the assessments are sent out, public notice is posted and
there is a 30-day period extended to property owners to contest the
previous year's assessment. This year's assessments went out the
beginning of March, and taxpayers now have until April 1 to file a
petition for a hearing.
The board of review schedules and hears complaints. In a typical
year the work is finished by Dec. 31. When the review board has not
finished by that date, it takes county board approval to extend that
time. It is not uncommon and has been done here in the past, county
finance chairman Chuck Ruben said.
Related in part to the tax bill delay, this month the Logan
County Board approved two measures. The board of review was granted
an extension of time to adjourn, and it was approved that the county
treasurer would be permitted to take out tax anticipation bonds.
The bonds would be in the amount of property taxes expected to
come in and would be borrowed for the period of April to July, until
the property taxes would begin coming in.
Treasurer Mary Ellen Bruns reminded county board members that
this year the county had a $278,000 lower levy, which leads to a
tighter budget and tighter cash flow. She would take out $848,530 in
tax anticipation warrants. The money can be borrowed at a very low
interest rate, she said.
"This would help guarantee cash flow does not get too low," Ruben
said. He said that this is a common action for counties to take,
citing that "it's over six months into the year before you collect
one of your biggest revenues." Logan County has done this the past
few years, he added.
Roseanne Brosamer, Logan County supervisor of assessments, was
also on hand at the county finance committee and the county board
meetings this month to explain the delay and the needs.
Brosamer went over the multi-step process that involves
decision-making and processing in several local offices along with
input from surrounding counties and from the state each year. This
is a lengthy process, she said.
The taxing process
The taxing process involves the assessor's office, the county
clerk, the state of Illinois and the county treasurer's office.
The property tax process starts in the assessor's office.
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assessment levels are sent.
Everyone who has
farmland gets one every year because those rates change every
Everyone who has a
change in assessment due to a property change, such as an
addition, gets one.
Everyone else gets
assessment every four years.
Public notice is
The board of review
finishes its work.
The state of
Illinois issues a multiplier.
When the multiplier
returns, it is sent to the county clerk's office.
multiplier is received by the end of February or the beginning
The county clerk's
office applies the rate and extensions to the districts. The
figures that the clerk's office must factor in include all the
different overlapping district rates, such as school and road
districts, fire departments, TIF districts, and enterprise
Typically it's in
the clerk's office two to three weeks. The wait for rates from
the overlapping border counties -- McLean, Tazewell, Mason,
Sangamon, Macon and DeWitt -- often delays the process.
County Clerk Sally
Litterly releases the final abstract.
A copy of the
abstract also goes to the county treasurer's office.
In part two we'll look at changes that have been made to the
assessment system over the last two years. The new system provides
more accuracy and primarily affects only farmland. By state mandate
all Illinois counties have implemented the new farmland assessment
in accordance with Bulletin 810 and by use of GIS.